87 Major Companies Lead the Way Towards a 1.5°C Future at UN Climate Action Summit

Companies announce plans to set more ambitious emissions reduction targets, challenging Governments to match their ambition
Sep 22, 2019 12:05 AM ET
Summary: 

The following is a joint press release from the United Nations Global Compact, the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and the We Mean Business coalition

Press Release

UNITED NATIONS, N.Y., September 22, 2019 /3BL Media/— 87 major companies — with a combined market capitalization of over US$2.3 trillion and annual direct emissions equivalent to 73 coal-fired power plants — are taking action to align their businesses with what scientists say is needed to limit the worst impacts of climate change.

Responding to a call-to-action issued in June by a group of business, civil society and UN leaders, the companies collectively represent over 4.2 million employees from 28 sectors and are headquartered in 27 countries. They have committed to set climate targets across their operations and value chains aligned with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and reaching net-zero emissions by no later than 2050.

Since the first 28 companies committed to 1.5°C were announced in July, the number has more than tripled. The latest cohort of companies include ADEC Innovations; América Móvil; ASICS Corporation; Atlassian Corporation; Bharti Airtel Limited; Burberry; City Developments Limited; The Co-operative Group; Croda International; Cybercom Group; Danone; Deutsche Telekom; Dexus; EDP - Energias de Portugal; Electrolux; Elopak; En+ Group; Ericsson Group; Firmenich; Glovo; Grupo Malwee; Guess; Ingka Group; Inter IKEA Group; International Flavors & Fragrances; Intuit; Klabin; L'Oréal; MARUI GROUP; Nestlé; Nokia; Novo Nordisk; NRG Energy; Orange Group; Ørsted; PensionDanmark; Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited; Saint-Gobain; Salesforce.com; Scania; Schneider Electric; Seventh Generation; SkyPower; Sodexo; SUEZ; Swiss Re; TDC; Viña Concha y Toro; and Wipro, among others.

The news comes as world leaders gather in New York for a milestone Climate Action Summit hosted by UN Secretary-General António Guterres. The Summit provides an opportunity for Governments, businesses and other stakeholders to present clear plans of action aligned with the recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which warned of catastrophic consequences should global warming exceed 1.5°C. The news also comes just before the opening of Climate Week NYC.

“It is encouraging to see many first-movers in the private sector align with civil society and ambitious Governments by stepping up in support of a 1.5°C future,” said Mr. Guterres. “Now we need many more companies to join the movement, sending a clear signal that markets are shifting.”

Mr. Guterres has challenged Governments to come to the Summit prepared to announce revamped national climate action plans and long-term net-zero targets. Demonstrating the private sector’s support for these efforts, companies are now leading the way in creating a positive feedback loop known as an “ambition loop” — with Government policies and private sector leadership reinforcing each other, and together taking climate action to the next level.

The companies are committed to setting science-based targets through the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), which independently assesses corporate emissions reduction targets in line with what climate scientists say is needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Of the 87 companies, the following already have verified 1.5°C-aligned reduction targets covering greenhouse gas emissions from their operations: AstraZeneca, BT, Burberry Limited, Deutsche Telekom AG, Dexus, Elopak, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Intuit, Levi Strauss & Co., L’Oréal, Schneider Electric, SAP, Signify, Sodexo, The Co-operative Group and Unilever. All campaign signatories have taken this ambition a step further by extending their commitments to apply to their entire value chains, which on average account for 5.5 times higher emissions than operations.

Recognizing corporate climate leadership in the lead up to the UN Global Compact Private Sector Forum — the official luncheon of the UN Climate Action Summit — Lise Kingo, CEO and Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, said, “These bold companies are leading the way towards a positive tipping point where 1.5°C-aligned corporate strategies are the new normal for businesses and their supply chains around the world. This is the type of transformative change we need to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals for both people and planet.”

“Warming beyond 1.5°C is a calamity we simply must not risk,” said Andrew Steer, SBTi Board Member and President and CEO of World Resources Institute. “Science-based targets provide a blueprint for companies to make a clear contribution to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement, but we need all hands on deck. There is not a minute to lose.”

The latest companies announced today as part of the “Business Ambition for 1.5°C — Our Only Future” campaign join an earlier group of 28 companies announced in July, including Acciona; AstraZeneca; Banka BioLoo; BT; Dalmia Cement Ltd.; Enel; Hewlett Packard Enterprise; Iberdrola; KLP; Levi Strauss & Co.; Mahindra Group; Natura &Co; Novozymes; Royal DSM; SAP; Signify; Singtel; Telefonica; Telia; Unilever; Vodafone Group and Zurich Insurance, among others.

About the United Nations Global Compact

As a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General, the United Nations Global Compact works with companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with ten universal principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. Launched in 2000, the UN Global Compact guides and supports the global business community in advancing UN goals and values through responsible corporate practices. With more than 9,500 companies and 3,000 non-business signatories based in over 160 countries, and more than 60 Local Networks, it is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative.

For more information, follow @globalcompact and visit unglobalcompact.org.

About the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi)

The Science Based Targets initiative mobilizes companies to set science-based targets and boost their competitive advantage in the transition to the low-carbon economy. It is a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and one of the We Mean Business Coalition commitments. The initiative defines and promotes best practice in science-based target setting, offers resources and guidance to reduce barriers to adoption, and independently assesses and approves companies’ targets.

For more information, follow @sciencetargets and visit sciencebasedtargets.org.

About the We Mean Business coalition

We Mean Business is a global coalition of nonprofit organizations working with the world’s most influential businesses to take action on climate change. The coalition brings together seven organizations, BSR, CDP, Ceres, The B Team, The Climate Group, The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Together we catalyze business action to drive policy ambition and accelerate the transition to a zero-carbon economy.

For more information, visit wemeanbusinesscoaltion.org.

Leila Puutio
United Nations Global Compact
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